Games

Nuphy Air75 Review: The Best Mechanical Keyboard for Travel

The Nuphy Air75 is a low profile keyboard for a new generation. At only 16mm in height, it’s able to slide into any bag and taken on the go without a second thought. Thanks to its innovative foot design, it’s also able to sit on top of virtually any laptop keyboard, completely replacing it with the mechanical keyboard typing experience that’s become so popular with desktop PCs. It’s also surprisingly full featured and is the first slim-line keyboard we’ve encountered that could make even dedicated keyboard enthusiasts happy: triple-mode connectivity (wired, Bluetooth, or 2.4GHz) for everything from work to gaming, thick PBT keycaps, outstanding low profile switches that put older generations of LPs to shame, and native Mac support. 

If you find yourself working or gaming on the go, this is a keyboard you won’t want to miss.

Specifications

  • Current Price: $109.95 (Nuphy – 10% off with code MMORPG10)
  • Switch type: low-profile Gateron mechanical
  • Layout: ANSI 75%
  • Number of keys: 84 keys
  • Hot-swappable support: yes
  • N-key rollover support: yes
  • Backlight & sidelight: RGB-led
  • Backlight modes: 21
  • Sidelight modes: 4
  • Connectivity modes: 2.4G wireless, Bluetooth 5.0 or wired
  • Battery capacity: 2500mAh
  • Working time: up to 48 hours (lab test result)
  • Connection type: USB type-c
  • Compatible system: macOS/windows/android/ios
  • Angle: 3.5º/ 6.5º with magnetic feet
  • Materials:
    • Frame: Aluminum
    • Bottom case: ABS
    • Keycap: PBT
  • Dimensions
    • 12.4 inch x 5.2 inch x 0.63 inch
    • 315.7 mm x 132.6 mm x 16.0 mm
    • Weight: 1.16 pound (523 grams)
  • Package Contents
    • 1 x air75 wireless mechanical keyboard
    • 1 x usb-c to usb-a cable (1.5m)
    • 1 x 2.4g receiver
    • 1 x keycap/switch puller
    • 2 x magnetic foot
    • 3 x extra keycaps
    • 3 x extra switches
    • 1 x stickers
    • 1 x quick guide/poster

Nuphy Air75 – First Impressions

First off, I need to come clean. I’ve never been a fan of low profile keyboards. I could get by typing on a laptop, but if given a choice, I’d go for a full-size, full-height keyboard every time. I was the guy that would take a separate keyboard to plug into his laptop during meetings. Mechanical keyboards spoiled me far more than the average person, and though I could find things to appreciate in low profile mechs like the Hexgears H-1, and even enjoyed taller boards like the Logitech G915 TKL quite a bit, I never stuck with them for very long after the review period was done.

Until now. 

The Nuphy Air75 is a keyboard enthusiast’s travel keyboard. It’s a Mac fan’s gaming keyboard. It’s frankly the best low profile keyboard you’re going to find right now, as long as you don’t need a full gaming software suite. Nuphy has changed the game, and that’s one of the reasons why if you’ve probably been seeing this keyboard pop up in YouTube videos left and right since it’s launch. When no other low profile mech has been able to win me over, the Air75 has been a staple in my bag since my first day using it. 

Let’s talk about why. 

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Nuphy Air75 – What Makes it Special 

The Air75 is a 75-percent keyboard, which is sometimes referred to as a mini-TKL. It has a full function row and arrow buttons, as well as five navigation and editing buttons along the right side. A switch on the back allows you to set it to Mac or Windows mode. In Mac mode, the function row shifts to provide access to all of your Macbook shortcuts. There are also a handful of alternate keycaps to make sure your bottom row buttons match your current OS. It should be great for Mac, but as a Windows user, I had no difficulties. 

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The keyboard is ridiculously thin. It’s only 16mm tall with keycaps installed. There is a pair of magnetic tilt feet that stick on the back (and slot onto the existing feet to keep them from sliding around) that raises the typing angle to 6.5-degrees (common for full height keyboards) but otherwise sits at 3.5-degree. The keycaps are also perfectly flat, so if you’re used to typing on a laptop or Magic Keyboard, these are going to feel right at home whereas users of full-size keyboards might find they need a short adjustment period. 

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Speaking of keycaps — holy cow: full, thick PBT! This is the first low profile keyboard I’ve ever encountered with thick PBT keycaps. As you may know from full-size keyboards, PBT is a preferred plastic for its improved durability and resistance to shine, but also because it provides a deeper, thockier typing experience. That is absolutely true here and one of the core reasons why the Nuphy feels so pleasant to type on. 

The other reason is the excellent switches Nuphy has used here. The company has gone with Gateron low profile switches instead of Kailh Choc switches and Cherry LPs that were popular for a while. Having used all of those through the years, I figured the Gaterons would be more of the same but they’re easily the best low profile switches on the market today. They have a slightly shorter travel distance at 2.75mm (compared to 3.2mm), but a slightly longer actuation point at 1.5mm (compared to 1.3mm). These specs are very close, but the actual experience of using them feels quite different.

Part of it is because of the keycaps and the other part is the switches themselves. The fact that the keycaps feel close to the ‘caps on a normal keyboard makes typing on these switches also feel closer to a normal keyboard — the flat, chiclet style keycaps do LP switches no favors. The other part is how crisp and clean the switches feel. There is no mushiness of softness to bottom outs. There’s no spring ping or reverberation at all. The brown switches in particular feel especially good to type on with a rounded tactile bump, but all three (Nuphy sent a set of each to test) are closer to their desktop counterparts than the low profile switches you might be used to. 

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These switches are also hot-swappable with other Gateron Lo-Pro switches, so you can try new ones on the fly. And because I tried, no, you can’t swap full-size switches into the keyboard. They’re too tall and the pins are oriented differently. If you want to try a different flavor of switch between linear red, tactile brown, and clicky blue, however, it’s as easy as pulling the old one out and pressing the new switch in.

Nuphy has also gone with Cherry-style stabilizers. That means you can easily remove them and add lube if you like, though my sample was pretty good right out of the box (I still lubed them because I’m a crazy person). It also means you can swap out these keycaps with another set borrowed from a full-size keyboard and find them compatible. They will bottom out more quickly, however, and I don’t know why you would do that and add all of that height to this keyboard. 

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The Air75 is versatile and responsive no matter how you’re using it. It supports wired connections, Bluetooth 5.0, and 2.4GHz connectivity. When traveling, I’ll often connect to my phone to type out articles and have become used to the modicums of input lag they produce: those milliseconds of pressing a key and waiting before it appears on screen. This keyboard has none of that. When I was waiting for my wife’s recall repair to be done on her Kia, I sat in the car dealership lobby and worked on an article for Popular Science. It was almost as if I were connected over USB.

For gaming, you’ll definitely want to rely on the 2.4GHz dongle to take advantage of the 1ms response time. I was both surprised and impressed to see Nuphy include this. Though you won’t find advanced gaming features like macros or timers here, you won’t need to worry about input lag when gaming if you use this dongle. 

The keyboard itself is also beautifully designed. It comes with a white and gray keycap set with colorful accents. It’s eye-catching without being overstated. There’s also RGB backlighting and two little RGB strips on the left and right side of the case, both of which double as indicator lights for the battery level and Caps Lock. The top case is sandblasted aluminum, but flip it over and you’ll find a smoked plastic bottom that shows off the components underneath. Centered there is a mirror-finished badge that really makes the board look nice. When I heard the case used an aluminum top, I was worried about weight, but it’s really just enough to make the keyboard feel solid and durable as the whole thing only weighs 523 grams.

Nuphy Air75 – Typing Experience and Daily Living 

I was lucky enough to be able to spend several weeks with the Nuphy Air75 ahead of publishing this review. Before this, my main travel keyboard was the Epomaker NT68 which was and is a great keyboard — if you want full-height keys. In my case, I really needed something slimmer that could disappear in my bag until I needed it and wouldn’t weigh me down. I haven’t had the NT68 out more than once for a comparison the entire time I’ve used the Air75.

The reason is simple: the Nuphy Air75 executes on all of its promises much better, which makes it a joy to use and carry with me every day. I’ve enjoyed trips out more where I’ll be stuck waiting with downtime because I can bust out the keyboard and write effectively, and still have the same kind of high-quality experience I enjoy from my more expensive standard keyboards.

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Now — here we should pause. I’m not saying this keyboard is going to feel (or sound) the same as a nice custom. They’re two different types of products. What I mean is this: as a writer, I like typing on nice keyboards. I have lots of customs to choose from and am very used to the nuances that make a keyboard go from good to great. Key feel, harshness in the fingers when bottoming out, the sound profile, how consistent and quiet the stabilizers are. The Nuphy offers the best low profile experience out there today and puts it in a package that begs to be taken on the go. 

One of its biggest assets is the NuFolio V2 travel case. It looks very nice with its faux leather exterior and doesn’t add much thickness to the package when traveling. It also helps protect the keyboard from bumps or hang-ups that might dislodge a keycap inside a bag. But no, the reason why I love it is that the same strap that holds the case closed while traveling reverses to create a steady shelf for your tablet or smartphone. One of my pet peeves with the NT68 is that the case would sometimes slide, even though it used magnets. That never happens here, which makes it more reliable and pleasant to use. 

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How about to actually replace a laptop keyboard? They’ve nailed it. I’ve used it on everything from my gaming laptop, to a Chromebook, to my work laptop and it’s worked perfectly on each. The stock rubber feet (not the magnetic ones) are thin enough to slot between the rows of keys and hold the keyboard high enough that you don’t get any accidental presses. That just wasn’t the case on the NT68, which lead me to stop trying altogether. Before writing this, I just left a meeting with the Nuphy Air75 replacing my laptop keyboard, in fact, and though my co-workers had never seen such a thing, it worked perfectly.

I’ve used the keyboard for work, gaming, portable writing — you name it — and there is very little bad to say about it. Heck, I even went so far as to pull and lube the stabilizers, disassemble and tape mod the PCB, and lube all of the red switches before swapping them all out for browns (love the tactility). But no keyboard is perfect, so nitpicks incoming.

Alright, areas of improvement: 

  • There’s no place to put the 2.4GHz dongle. That means you’d better put it in a drawer or tape it to the keyboard, because it’s going to be easily lost. 
  • The RGB just isn’t bright enough to see well. You can see it much better in the dark, but during the day, it’s just kind of a battery drain as is.
  • Battery life is only decent. Nuphy quotes 48 hours in lab testing. I tend to plug my keyboard in about once a week which has been enough to keep the battery indicator from even hitting red. This is good but not great and pretty much requires turning the RGB off — but since it’s so dim, you don’t really notice either way.

Overall, those really do feel like nitpicks when you evaluate the keyboard as a whole. Nuphy has done an exceptional job with this keyboard and created something that’s truly impressive… enough to convert a full-size diehard like me, even.

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Final Thoughts

The Nuphy Air75 is an outstanding keyboard. It’s not perfect, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the typing experience it delivers. As someone who tried and failed — repeatedly — to get into low profile keyboards, the Air75 is the first keyboard to really come out swinging with enthusiast features and a typing experience that’s second to none. Whether you’re a gamer, student, or just someone who wants a nice keyboard to take to and from work, this is absolutely worth investing in, especially at the current price of only $109.95. Check it out for yourself at the Nuphy Store.

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The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Purchases made with our code will result in a small commission for MMORPG.com to continue fueling our product coverage.

https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/nuphy-air75-review-the-best-mechanical-keyboard-for-travel-2000124458 Nuphy Air75 Review: The Best Mechanical Keyboard for Travel

Fry Electronics Team

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